OECD Environmental Performance Reviews

1990-0090 (online)
1990-0104 (print)
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OECD Environmental Performance Reviews provide independent assessments of countries’ progress towards their environmental policy objectives. Reviews promote peer learning, enhance government accountability, and provide targeted recommendations aimed at improving environmental performance, individually and collectively. They are supported by a broad range of economic and environmental data, and evidence-based analysis. Each cycle of Environmental Performance Reviews covers all OECD countries and selected partner economies.

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OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Norway 2011

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19 May 2011
9789264098473 (PDF) ;9789264098459(print)

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This report presents the third OECD review of Norway’s environmental policy performance. Previous reviews were published in 2001 and 1993. Topics covered in this report include greening growth, implementation of environmental policies, international cooperation, climate change, waste management and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), and nature and biodiversity.

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  • Foreword
    Since the last Environmental Performance Review in 2001, Norway has promoted new policy approaches that continue to challenge and inspire.
  • Preface
    The principal aim of the OECD Environmental Performance Review programme is to help member and selected partner countries to improve their individual and collective performance in environmental management by...
  • General Notes
  • Executive Summary
    Since the last OECD Environmental Performance Review in 2001, Norway has continued to play a pioneering role in environmental protection and sustainable development. Nationally, environmental policies have been strengthened in many areas. As a result, the quality of air and water is generally high. The number of species threatened by extinction is low by OECD standards. Internationally, Norway has spearheaded an impressive range of important initiatives.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Sustainable Development

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    • Developments since the 2001 Review
      Showing strong signs of economic recovery following the 2008-09 global downturn, Norway continues to develop its capacity as a pioneer in various aspects of environmental policy. Since the 2001 OECD review, Norway has prioritised certain policies that aim to reduce environmental strains, notably in the areas of: climate change, biodiversity, marine environment, waste management and chemicals management. Even as a non-EU member country, Norway has influenced EU environmental policy, and in some areas has adopted requirements more stringent than those set out by the EU. However, there are continuing issues concerning the increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; the threat posed to certain species in forests, waterways, and agricultural landscapes; and the escalation in waste generation.
    • Towards Sustainable Development
      Norway has set ambitious objectives for environmental policy. With a strategy aimed at promoting sustainable development in policy design, these objectives are backed by a strong analytical framework for considering environmental, social and economic issues. This is complemented by a focussed approach to the management of human, natural, produced and financial capital. A further look at the cost-effectiveness of environmental policies will be necessary to ensure further progress for the environment, as will getting a grip on fiscal policy, with respect to certain taxes and subsidies. More investment in R&D could also bolster the sustainable growth agenda.
    • Implementation of Environmental Policies
      A number of initiatives including simplification of regulation, decentralisation of environmental responsibilities and the intelligent use of economic instruments has facilitated the successful application of many environmental policies in Norway. Enforcement is better targeted, risk based and deterrence oriented. New requirements have expanded the coverage and scope of projects subject to environmental impact assessment, and introduced better consultation arrangements with the general public. Supporting this is an extensive system of environmental indicators used to monitor policy and communicate results. With a number of areas requiring closer attention such as air pollution, water and wastewater infrastructure, and river management, making use of the strong policy base is critical to progress.
    • International Co-operation
      Norway has continued to play a significant role in promoting international environmental co-operation bilaterally, regionally and globally. The country has positively contributed to international negotiations on climate change, marine environment protection and chemicals. Reducing environmental impacts in sea waters of oil and gas extraction, shipping activities and fisheries are some of the challenges that Norway has to address in co-operation with other countries. Norway is setting the standard in development assistance with a high rate of per GNI financial aid and significant support to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Selected Issues

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    • Climate Change
      As one of the first countries to adopt a carbon tax, Norway uses this, along with its membership in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in a determined attempt to reduce emissions. Norway experienced a rise in emissions over the past 20 years, meaning its ambitious reduction target by 2020 will need support through the establishment of a more consistent price for carbon across the economy, the development of an economy-wide energy efficiency strategy, and a review of transport taxes and exemptions. If it can successfully manage these elements, Norway could act as a positive example for other countries in the move to a low-carbon economy.
    • Nature and Biodiversity
      Norway has set up a strong biodiversity framework. Substantial progress has been made, promoted by increased spending on biodiversity, with the new Nature Diversity Act, the Biodiversity Information Centre and the sea management plans resulting in better protection of certain land and sea habitats and threatened species. However, targets and actions should be further developed for forest protection, plus coastal and river zones which are still under threat by human activity. This chapter focuses on the priorities for Norway in ensuring sustainable management of biodiversity and nature conservation, as well as the impact of climate change on these areas.
    • Waste Management
      Norway now has a simpler regulatory framework for waste management and is striving to reduce the significant increase in waste generation that it has experienced since the last OECD review. Efforts have been made to make the selective collection and treatment of household waste more cost-effective, and to improve the safety of landfill operations. The chapter also presents progress in reducing emissions of hazardous chemical substances, many of which were linked with disposal of end-of-life products, as well as addressing problems related to contaminated sites. Concerns remain however, over the volumes of hazardous waste and waste transfer across Norway’s borders. How to effectively use the mix of instruments in managing waste, along with better implementation of waste management plans, is examined in this chapter, along with best ways of dealing with tax and other incentives that can improve performance.
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